Summer Blog Break

Posted July 30, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

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It’s that time of year!

I interrupt this blog for breaking news. “Humor Me” is taking a summer blog break to relax and celebrate August birthdays and anniversaries. Look for the next post on September 10th when this blog returns to inform and entertain the masses!

Summer Blog Break

Keep on reading!

Friday Is National Drive-Thru Day!

Posted July 23, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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Have you ever been through a drive-thru? Fast food? Dry cleaners? Bank? On July 24th, we celebrate National Drive-Thru Day.

With the COVID-19 pandemic surrounding us everywhere, drive-thrus and curbside pickups are a blessing. Drive up, get your groceries, your morning coffee, your evening meal, your library books, your prescriptions. Getting married? Plan a drive-thru wedding in Las Vegas! Lucky for us, all of these activities can be done without having to come in contact with a crowd of people.

Drive-thrus have been around since the 1930s. How many of you knew that?

Here are some fun facts about drive-thrus.

  • The first drive-thru was a bank in Syracuse, NY in 1928.
  • In-N Out Burger on the West Coast opened as a drive-thru in 1948. It’s the longest-running drive-thru in the U.S.
  • The first drive-thru burger chain was Jack in the Box established in 1951. At that time, it was drive-thru service only.

If you’re bored with staying at home, get into your car, put on your mask, and choose one of the many drive-thurs that are available and celebrate National Drive-Thru Day!

Check this out!

ddrive through

Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America’s Fast-Food Kingdom by Adam Chandler, Flatiron Books, 2019.

Hello Hello – Picture Book Review

Posted July 16, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Hello Hello! Welcome, welcome to an exotic collection of animals of all shapes and sizes. Brendan Wenzel has written and illustrated a fascinating book depicting the similarities and differences between animals.

hello

In spare rhyming text, the author introduces readers to a variety of animals. Some are small. Some are large. Some are brightly colored. Some are not. There are animals with patterns, animals with unique body parts, animals that are loud, and animals that are quiet. The illustrations are bold and bright rendered in a combination of cut paper, colored pencil, oil pastels, marker, and computer. The animals included in the book are favorites of Brenden Wenzel. Readers will delight in his illustrations and how he gives each animal a personality of its own. At the end of the book, Wenzel lists all the animals, noting which ones are endangered, critically endangered, threatened, near threatened, and vulnerable. This is a joyous book that celebrates the natural world of animals. The author note encourages readers to become familiar with the animals and let others know about them and how they can help keep these animals safe. Enjoy. Enjoy.

The Home Builders – PB Review

Posted July 9, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Have you seen The Home Builders? It’s not an HGTV program. It happens to be a delightful picture book about animals and their homes written by Varsha Bajaj.

home builder

Accompanying Bajaj’s lyrical tale are colorful illustrations by Simona Mulazzani, depicting animals building homes for their new family members. The mixed media art includes acrylics, colored pencil, and collage on paper. Varsha Bajaj’s rhyming text asks questions of the reader “Do you see the builders work? Do you see the homes? Do you see the babies? Do you see the families?” The text and illustrations encourage readers to become an active part of reading the book. The author’s choice of verbs such as “burrow and hide, shovel and plow, slumber, swarm” adds a lively dimension to the book. With each page turn, readers learn a bit more about each animal. The final spread shows the animals snugly in their homes as nightfall arrives. This is a perfect book to snuggle up with your child and read together.

The Fourth of July

Posted July 2, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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Saturday is July 4th. On this day, America celebrates its independence from Great Britain.

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This has been an extremely challenging year for Americans. As we celebrate our nation’s freedom, pause between bites of hot dogs and hamburgers to pray for peace, unity, justice, and equality.

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

~Lee Greenwood

National Dairy Month

Posted June 25, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

Tags: , , ,

Each year Madison, Wisconsin celebrates Dairy Month with a huge gathering on the Capital Concourse. This year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this delightful and delicious celebration was held as a virtual event. It’s not quite the same as being there. So, I decided to put up an old post of my visit to see Cows on the Concourse.

The Cow Stops Here

IMG_1130Mo-o-o-ve over! June is National Dairy Month, and the cows were out – Cows on the Wisconsin State Capital Concourse, of course, of course. “Dairy aire” was in the air. Got Milk? You betcha! White milk, chocolate milk, and strawberry milk were on the menu. There were hunka, hunks of cheese and mounds of squeaking cheese curds. If you missed breakfast or lunch, grilled cheese sandwiches were making the rounds. For dessert or an anytime treat, I scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream and don’t forget the overstuffed cream puffs. The cows were doing their best to please. It was a dairy day overload.

Follow me and see.

First stop — cows. I had a hard time getting close to the mooers. Those little kiddies wouldn’t let me in.

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big cow

I was looking for Alice in Dairyland, but found Natalie Salkowski, the Fairest of the Fair, instead. Notice she has a cow in her last name, and I think she’s wearing a dress designed by “Holstein.”

dairy queen

Milk mustaches were en vogue.

smile

There were all kinds of dairy treats.

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grilled cheese

It was an “udderly” satisfying day. So don’t forget to celebrate National Dairy Month. Drink a glass of milk today!

Want to know more about cows and dairy products? Check these out.

The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons (Aladdin, 1987), Cows (Animals Animals) by Renee C. Rebman (Benchmark Books, 2009), Farm Animals Cows by Cecilia Minden (Cherry Lake Pub., 2009), Cows (Animals That Live on the Farm) by JoAnn Early Macken (Weekly Reader Early Learning Library, 2009), Ice Cream:  The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons (Holiday House, 2008)

For Fun:  A Big Cheese for the White House:  The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar by Candice Fleming (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) 2004) 

Say Cheese!

 

A Picture Book Review: Small Matters

Posted June 18, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Nonfiction Picture Books, Uncategorized

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Did you know that a powerful microscope can zoom in on the tiniest of details? It’s called a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Here’s your chance to learn what this book has hidden on the pages inside.

small matters

Small Matters:  The Hidden Power of the Unseen is written by Heather Ferranti Kinser. She introduces readers to reptiles, fish, insects, and birds that have hidden powers that can’t be seen with the naked eye. On one page, there is a vibrantly colored photograph of the animal. On the opposite page, there is a zoomed-in photograph of the unseen hidden power created by the scanning electron microscope. Kinser has attached a characteristic that describes what each hidden power is. A shark is SPEEDY because it has jagged scales on the skin to help it speed through the water. A toucan’s large beak has SUPPORT because the beak has holes that are covered with a very thin film which makes the beak strong and light. Eleven examples are included in the book. Kinser has done an excellent job of explaining the hidden power in terms that readers can easily understand. The photographs are large and detailed, and the back matter includes more information on each of the examples along with book suggestions for further reading. This is a great choice for kids who are interested in animals and their hidden superpowers.

DOWN UNDER THE PIER: A Perfect Summer Picture Book

Posted June 11, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books, Seasonal Books

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Pier

Down Under the Pier begins with four children at an amusement park that overlooks the ocean. There’s a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, carousel, games, cotton candy, and a day filled with fun. But as the day moves into the evening and money has been spent, there is another adventure to be discovered. At low tide, there is a magical world down under the pier. No money required. It’s a world of sand, sea spray, waves, and a treasure trove of ocean creatures. Mussels, barnacles, sea stars, and anemones cling to the pilings of the pier. In the shallow waters of low tide are tiny crabs, seashells, kelp, and seaweed. Nell Cross Beckerman weaves a lyrical story about a day at an oceanside amusement park and the natural beauty and wonder of the ocean found down under the pier. Readers will delight in Rachell Sumpter’s colorful illustrations particularly those under the pier. This is the perfect summer book to be enjoyed by all!

A Time for Hope

Posted June 4, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life

Tags: , , , ,

In times of despair, a bit of encouragement is helpful. Emily Dickinson’s poem of hope inspires and gives us strength to renew our faith in the world so we can move forward to make it a kinder and gentler place.

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PB Review: Sloth to the Rescue

Posted May 28, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Sometimes we need to move slowly, but sometimes there is a need for urgency. Sloth in Sloth To The Rescue written by Leanne Shirtliffe and illustrated by Rob McClurkan needs to move quickly even though it may be uncomfortable and scary for him. 

Sloth’s friend, Patti, spent the summer writing a report due on the first day of school. His favorite thing about Patti is she is never in a rush. When Sloth sees Patti has forgotten her report on a bench at the Rainforest Rescue Center, Sloth needs to hurry to get it back to her, but Sloth is not someone who hurries. He realizes he needs a little help from his friends. Sloth enlists Peccary, Boa, Capuchin, and Ocelot. With Patti’s report in hand, they leave the comfort of the Rescue Center and take a field trip to Patti’s school to search for her. They search in the schoolyard, in the coatroom, in the classroom, in the gymnasium, but Patti is nowhere to be found. Sloth remembers that to calm down he must take his time. That’s when he finds Patti, dawdling near the water fountain. Patti is thrilled to see her friend and her report. The animals stay and listen to Patti’s report. Sloth is happy to be with Patti who, like Sloth, isn’t in a rush. Leanne Shirtliffe has written a delightful story about friendship and overcoming the fear of stepping outside one’s comfort zone. Her use of clever comments and wordplay will put a smile on readers’ faces as will Rob McClurkan’s charming illustrations of rainforest animals.      

 


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